Friday's NHL Playoffs: Rangers v Penguins and Blackhawks v Wild
Game 5: New York Rangers (+156)at Pittsburgh Penguins (-172)SERIES (1-3)
Sidney Crosby had two assists, as the Penguins rolled to a 4-2 victory in Game 4. The victory gives Pittsburgh a chance to win the series in front of their home crowd Friday night. Marc-Andre Fleury was not dominant on Wednesday, as he only saved 13 shots. Nevertheless, Fleury has only allowed two goals in the last three games. Pittsburgh got two big third period goals from Jussi Jokinen and Chris Kunitz. Jokinen has scored six goals this post-season, with Kunitz adding three of his own. Pittsburgh's recent dominant play has them at+110 to win the East, which currently makes them the favorites to go the Stanley Cup Finals from the conference. The Boston Bruins are right now (+150) to win the East.
If you like longshots, the Rangers are +1,800 to win the East. Of course to get merely to the conference finals, they will have to figure out how to win the next three games against Pittsburgh. For that to occur, they will have to get more scoring from just Mats Zuccarello and Carl Hagelin. Zuccarello has been the Rangers' best offensive player in these playoffs, but right now he is not getting much help. Only he and Hagelin have scored a goal in the last three games. Hendrik Lundqvist was off his game in Game 4, as he gave up four goals in 27 shot attempts. These factors can explain why Pittsburgh is a 1.5 goal favorites and -172 with the money line against New York in Game 5.
Game 4: Chicago Blackhawks (-128)at Minnesota Wild (+116) SERIES (2-1)
Many thought the winner of the first round Chicago/St. Louis series would be the favorite to go to the Stanley Cup Finals. So far this is the case, as the Blackhawks are the favorites in the West at -110. In fact Chicago is currently the favorite to win the Stanley Cup at +250. These stats are all the more impressive, with Chicago being recently shutout by Minnesota in Game 3. Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov only had to face 19 shots, as Minnesota got the 4-0 win. Chicago currently leads this series 2 games to 1. If you like longshots, the Wild are +450 to win this series, while Chicago is -600 to win two more games against Minnesota.
Minnesota was in this position against Colorado last round and figured how to win Game 4 and eventually the series. Still, odd makers have Chicago's money line at -128 and 1.5 goal favorite in Game 4. Chicago has a high powered offense led by captain Jonathan Towes and Bryan Bickell. The two have combined for nine playoff goals this post-season. Also, it should be expected Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford will bounce back from his Game 3 performance. However, Minnesota has shown they have the ability to win a borderline must-win game. Fans should not be surprised if Minnesota wins Game 4, before eventually losing the series to Chicago.
* Betting lines mentioned in this article are subject to change due to time sensitivity. Please visit the sports betting lines for up to date odds.
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